August 6th, 2009

The Speciousness of “Strategic”

I work in the field of “strategic communications.” In my past job, I worked on “strategic partnerships,” among other things. Both terms are well-established, yet both are 50% meaningless.

After all, aren’t all communications “strategic”? Do nonstrategic partnerships even exist?

The truth is, these are differences without a distinction. As any semanticist will tell you, if you can remove the adjective without changing the meaning of the noun, chuck the adjective. It’s a buzzword, “an important-sounding, usually technical word or phrase, often of little meaning, used chiefly to impress laymen.”

Think of this speciousness the next time you’re tempted to employ such jargon.

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